Less than four weeks until year's end, and three posts sit as drafts since April - none of which mention the week studying Art of Islamic Pattern in Fez in late Spring; the two weeks in June with our teenage niece and nephew spent frolicking in Mallorca before initiating them to the African safari in Botswana and Zambia; an early birthday celebration in late Summer in complete relaxation on the Amalfi coast in Ravello and Positano; and most recently, our Icelandic Winter adventure with my sister-in-law and her family. Before I write about the latter though, I'll take two steps back to October:
I waited with great anticipation from the moment we arrived home from our last visit less than a year ago. Given that my longest stay had ever been only one week, a fortnight in New York City was a luxury. Our visit was three-fold: business for my husband, leisure for us both, and the hunt for a pied-à-terre which warrants its own post, so I won't say anything further about it at the moment.
Instead, my thoughts on this post are about my change of view, the view through a rangefinder. Photography has only ever been a leisurely pursuit since the purchase of my first SLR in 2000 - the Canon EOS 300. I regretted not getting instruction then on how to use the camera properly. Five years later, I plunged into my first DSLR and my enthusiasm for photography grew a hundredfold. It was during my time with the Canon 20D when my husband and I crossed the pond with one-way tickets and our travels began. Not long after, I upgraded to the Canon 5D Mk II and if I had a drop of sentimentality for any of my gear, it would be for this camera which I lugged across continents and oceans from the Australian outback to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco to the beaches of Zanzibar, but I never considered it my faithful companion. It only ever was just a tool. I started to use it to capture my new interest in food at home partly to stir up the dust between travels. As camera phones continually improved, I used the ginormous DSLR less and less and had even forgotten about it on occasion whilst it sat in my Billingham bag in a cupboard. I grew tired of hauling the beast, my zeal for photography waned, and my travel blog suffered the consequences.
I yearned to feel the excitement I once had for photography, the desire to create images with a proper camera. The iPhone was no longer enough. My search for an unobtrusive, simple digital camera lead me to the Leica brand, but it took almost two years to justify the cost. No other camera comes a close second in my mind, and no other camera is an object of beauty in my eyes. Realising that making the change to a rangefinder would be a task made me lust for it more. I needed and wanted the challenge.
Leica M has become my faithful daily companion strapped across my body these past two months. Together, we rambled Manhattan's streets and admired its skyline from across the East River in Brooklyn; returned home to England in time to capture Autumn in its splendour and it accompanies me on my daily errands and jaunts into town.
Since my focusing remains hit-and-miss, I didn't feel ready venturing into Iceland with the Leica M, but consequently, this recent trip confirmed my decision of this great purchase. I arrived home with a handful of images that solidifies the leap I made for the change in view - images of sheer joy captured on the faces of our nieces which brought tears to my sister-in-law's eyes. So, was this exorbitant purchase worth it? Absolutely.
This exceptionally built camera feels lovely; it sits comfortably between my hands. And despite the weighty combination of the Noctilux-M 50mm lens on the M-P 240 body, it is still compact enough to fit in my shoulder bag along with my Kindle and travel essentials. The different view through the rangefinder - the obstructed view with the lens attached forces me to take my time and be more thoughtful about each image I'm trying to create. The process of shooting is now utter pleasure.